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The Future of Retail: eCommerce vs Brick & Mortar


It is no surprise the eCommerce saw tremendous growth in 2020 with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Government-mandated lockdowns forced many brick and mortar retailers to shut their doors and simultaneously forced many consumers to turn to online shopping. The unprecedented year left many believing that the end of traditional brick and mortar retail was on the horizon, but holiday shopping trends could indicate differently. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the estimate of U.S. retail eCommerce sales for the third quarter of 2020 was $209.5 billion, which was actually a 1% decrease from the second quarter of 2020. Nevertheless, this slight decrease is only noticeable when compared with early months of the same year. eCommerce sales still saw massive growth when compared to previous years. 

CNBC reports that online shopping in the U.S. over the 2020 holiday season grew 32.2% from 2019. However, they also noted an increase in brick and mortar mall traffic during the final weeks of 2020, with last-minute holiday shoppers still turning to traditional retail options. The chart below shows the incredible decline in mall traffic at the start of the pandemic, along with the slow increase as the year progressed, and the sharp increase from November into December.



All in all, 2020 undoubtedly forced a rapid global shift of the retail environment. The future of retail surely lies most prominently in eCommerce, but this holiday season showed that perhaps not all hope is lost for traditional brick and mortar retail environments. 

You can learn more about all the latest eCommerce and retail trends at the White Label World Expo on September 1 & 2, 2021 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Get your free tickets today!